Software // Information Management
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8/21/2009
02:28 PM
Randy George
Randy George
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ConSentry Goes Belly Up

After $80M invested by its VC partners, over $9M of which was received earlier this year in order to fund future growth, an innovator in the Network Access Control space, ConSentry Networks, closed its doors for good today. What does this say about the viability of the NAC space?

After $80M invested by its VC partners, over $9M of which was received earlier this year in order to fund future growth, an innovator in the Network Access Control space, ConSentry Networks, closed its doors for good today. What does this say about the viability of the NAC space?If you're of the opinion that Network Access Control is a vital element in the security toolbox of Enterprise IT, then how do you explain the death of one of the top innovators in the space?

We recently reviewed one of ConSentry's NAC switches in the InformationWeek labs, and we we're impressed with the range of features and functionality. Some security holes were plugged, management was improved, and it looked like a much improved solution to us at the time of our review.

So what went wrong? Here's my take.

It's becoming increasingly clear that IT is shifting gears and focusing budget dollars on data centric security solutions like Data Loss Prevention tools. That leaves expensive and difficult to implement system level protection solutions in a precarious position. Most IT shops can't absorb the capital and operational costs required to do both well.

So I put you in charge of a fictional IT department, make the following choice, you can only pick one. A) Deploy NAC and feel better about every system being patched, feel better that 802.1x is keeping people off your network that shouldn't be on it, etc…Meanwhile, the data that you need to keep secure is only protected by rudimentary technology.

B) Deploy DLP, and wrap up tightly the data that could be most damaging to your organization if leaked. Meanwhile, you'll take your chances that machines might be attaching to your network unpatched or unprotected.

Now maybe you don't accept the fact that you can't deploy both DLP and NAC and manage them properly. Well, given enough resources, you can manage anything properly and well. But that's the problem, its having the resources and budget to do it all, and many IT shops don't have both (resources and budget).

So after 6 years, ConSentry dies, a victim of a paradigm shift in security priorities.

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